Jordan Column Peanut Grower Magazine Peanut Notes No. 35 2020

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In May there are several key issues to address. The first step is establishing an adequate stand (5 plants per foot of row) and then protecting those plants from stresses early in the season. Peanuts are resilient and they can survive even under very difficult conditions. As long as peanut seed has good germination and is treated with fungicide, we generally get an adequate stand. We can plant peanuts deep, down to the moisture, and that takes a lot of pressure off of the decision to plant or not plant when soil moisture is limited. Keeping plants free from feeding by thrips and from weed interference during the first month of the season are high priorities. We go into peanuts expecting to have thrips and weeds. Our preplant (PPL or PPI) and preemergence (PRE) herbicides are critical in protecting peanuts from weed interference during the period of time weed scientists refer to as the “critical weed-free period.”  Herbicides applied prior to and immediately after planting do not control weeds completely for the entire season, but they do allow peanuts to emerge and grow without competition for a period of time.

To get us through the month of May and then into much of June, we often apply postemergence (POST) herbicides (regardless of the PPL, PPI or PRE program). Paraquat applied 2 to 3 weeks after peanuts emerge can be very effective, and this is a good time to sure up the residual control by including one of the products that fit this window. At the same time, we need to make sure thrips do not cause too much damage. Our in-furrow, systemic insecticides, provide a degree of protection, especially if logistical challenges are in play or products do not perform well. In many cases, a timely application of acephate can give us the added protection we might need.

Our research shows that the combination of paraquat, Basagran, residual herbicides, and acephate works well and helps us move the crop through the first 4 to 6 weeks without stress from these two types of pests. Being as timely as possible is a key. Sometimes our PPI and PRE herbicides give only a short period of control while at other times that control can be surprisingly long. The same is true for thrips suppression. Some years our products don’t need a follow up whereas in other years an early spray of insecticide is needed. Weather plays a major role in the effectiveness of these materials. More recently, we have also started being more concerned about evolved resistance in many of our pest populations.

With that in mind, scouting early can help us make sure our yield potential doesn’t slip past us by enabling us to make timely POST sprays of herbicide and insecticide when needed.